Congratulations to these students! We applaud the hard work you are doing in your schools and communities to make a difference.

Student Scholarship Winner


Camryn Mateo
The Woodlands High School – The Woodlands, TX

Among the billions of students in the world we are all searching for an answer to this complex yet simple question, “Who am I?”.  I have asked myself this exact question, searching for my own identity. What exactly makes me who I am and what I have to offer to the world. I’ve come to the conclusion that like billions of other students, I am asking the wrong question. We should not be asking ourselves “Who am I?”, but instead we should be asking “Who do I want to be?”. What aided me in answering this question is the Going Purple club Project. Over the last three years I put my whole heart into this organization and I can honestly say that it has made me into the person that I am today.

The highlight of my presidency was the night of January 22, 2016 when Chris Herren came and spoke to my community at the Woodlands Church. Approximately four thousand of our faculty, parents, and students from all over Conroe ISD came to hear Chris Herren’s message. I had the incredible honor of introducing Chris Herren with the principal of the Woodlands High School, Gregg Colschen, and  I remember walking onto the stage with Mr. Colschen and I looked out to the crowd to see that every single seat was filled. I stood there astonished and repeated to myself, “If we can touch the heart of at least one person, this will all be worth it”. I concluded my introduction with, “We hope that Chris Herren can impact your life, the way he has impacted ours”, and without fail that is exactly what he did. After Chris Herren concluded his speech I looked around the room and I could not only see but I could feel the impact he made. After his speech Chris Herren opened the floor to any parents or students that felt the need to share their own stories and total of thirty students came to the microphones. Each and every one sharing their individual struggles and concerns to four thousand other people. From hearing Chris Herren speak these students mustered the courage and the strength to open themselves up to thousands of strangers, hoping to relieve the burden that they carry. That night changed my life, because after hearing these students speak I knew what I hope to achieve in this world.

It is proven that a student’s ambitions and dreams defines not only who they want to be, but who they are as a person. The one thing I strive to do in my lifetime is to make a difference in this world, by empowering people around the globe to achieve their highest ambitions. How I will achieve this is by creating multiple foundations or organizations that will empower children, women, and families across the world to be the people of the future. At the age of seventeen I do not hold the answers to the universe, but I hold the potential to make it a better place.

Student Scholarship Winner


Zachary Marcinkiewicz
Quabbin Regional High School – Hubbardston, MA

Addiction isn’t selective, it can affect anyone. I learned this two years ago when a father in my neighborhood died of a heroin overdose. He was a great guy, well liked and well respected. We were heartbroken. We had a Going Purple club at Quabbin Regional High School and the neighboring town of Barre decorated their town common in purple every year, while my hometown of Hubbardston did not. I decided for my Senior Capstone Project I would bring awareness to the problem of drug addiction to my community and bring the Going Purple movement to Hubbardston.

I got involved by attending the Q-Drug (Quabbin Drug Response Unifying Group) meetings. Through my efforts nine business owners displayed a purple ribbon outside and hung the Supporter’s Pledge and 61 people agreed to have a purple ribbon placed on their property! My little sister helped me several evenings that week making purple ribbons. Then between Saturday and Sunday, my brother and I spent seven hours driving around Hubbardston tying purple ribbons on mailboxes and trees at private homes. It was very cool to see purple ribbons on every street in town!

During the week, I attended a Vigil where it was extremely powerful to hear from family members and recovering addicts speaking about their struggles with addiction. Retired Senator Stephen Brewer attended and praised the work being done in our community to bring awareness. Then he specifically recognized my work in Hubbardston, after which I received a round of applause. Senator Brewer shook my hand and thanked me for my efforts to bring the Going Purple movement to my town. It was one of my proudest moments.

For me, Going Purple has been a life changing experience. Learning about addiction and sharing that information, supporting and encouraging positive life choices to the kids at my school has been rewarding. In the fall, I will attend Worcester State University with a major in biotechnology. My younger brother plans to continue my work with Q-Drug. I’ll be there to help him place purple ribbons around town. The most important thing to me is that my younger brother and sister are listening and paying attention, because I’ll be watching them.

Student Scholarship Winner


Michael Adkins
Portsmouth High School – Portsmouth, RI 

I was in middle school when the Going Purple movement started and I have been involved each year.

When you are young, it is easy to be clean and sober and to spread the message. As you get older, it gets harder and harder not to succumb to peer pressure. I am proud to say that as a senior, I am clean and sober. I have also championed the Going Purple message by joining Patriots Committed, a club at Portsmouth High School. What the club stands for is making the community aware of the dangers of drug use and alcohol, as well as providing safe alternatives. I’ve been through training sessions informing us about the dangers of substance abuse, and have continually spread the information I gained. What being purple means to me is to live a healthy lifestyle, free of substance.

This movement means a lot to me, as a very close family member of mine fell into the trap of drug addiction. Since that truth came to light I have been more invested in informing others of the dangers than I ever had before. I think that’s what has made me so invested into Patriots Committed because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make sure that I was doing something to ensure another family wouldn’t have to go through the same pain and worry mine had. As I get ready to graduate and head to college, I’m pleased to say that I will continue leading a healthy lifestyle and will continue to champion what Going Purple means to me by joining the Wellness Environment (WE) at UVM. By joining WE, I will pledge to keep drugs and alcohol out of our environment and to live by the four pillars, fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, and mentorship. The moto of WE is by building a healthy brain, a healthy body will follow. I am pleased to say I am Purple.

A Word From Our 2017 Scholarship Recipient